Amar'e Stoudemire and the 25 Most Overrated Power Forwards in League History

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2012

Amar'e Stoudemire and the 25 Most Overrated Power Forwards in League History

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    The NBA is the place where amazing happens, but also the locale where the overrated inhabit.

    It's far from difficult to see how it happens; one great year, a handful of above average performances, immortal swag and freakish athletic ability are all driving forces behind unjustified jumps to superstardom.

    In a league that is built on All-Stars, with a fanbase that craves star-power, numerous athletes have built an exuberant "reputation," despite underwhelming realities.

    And while this form of perpetual misconception doesn't discriminate, historically, the power forward position is laden with some of the biggest culprits. 

25. Karl Malone

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    It's not that Karl Malone didn't win a championship, it's that he didn't win a championship with some of the greatest supporting casts of all time, both with the Jazz and Lakers.

    Malone could score and the man could pass, but people often tend to overlook that he would have been a shell of the player we came to know without John Stockton, like a modern day Amar'e Stoudemire—whoops, spoiler alert—if you will.

    Comparing him to the top 15 or 20 greats of all time is absolutely insane.

24. David Lee

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    It kills me to put a workhorse like David Lee here but, at the same time, it's wrong not to acknowledge that he is overrated.

    Lee is a guy who plays with energy and can post 20 points and 10 rebounds per night, but that's it.

    He is not a star you can build a team around, nor is he worth upwards of $80 million. 

    And if we're honest, his stat lines are likely bolstered by the fact that he has spent his entire career on teams not fit for the playoffs.

23. James Worthy

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    I'm simply not sold on James Worthy as a Hall of Famer.

    While Worthy had no trouble scoring, he left much to be desired on the glass, averaging just over five for his career, despite a 6'9" frame.

    As far as being a superstar goes, though, remove him from a superstar-laden roster, and you have the Chris Bosh of the 1980s.

22. Andray Blatche

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    Andray Blatche hasn't done much of anything over his career, yet many still consider him to be a star in the making.

    The big man has a lifetime average of 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, has had more than his fair share of injury issues and continues to lack the commitment and focus necessary to evolve his game.

    Blatche is a second-rate power forward at best, and the fact that that has hardly been acknowledged renders him extremely overrated.

21. George McGinnis

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    George McGinnis tore up the ABA, but as soon as he hit the NBA, his production entered a steady decline.

    While he was versatile enough to play both the 4 and 5, his weaknesses on both ends of the floor were undeniable. McGinnis was underwhelming on defense, had a relatively low career shooting percentage (44.8 NBA) for a big man and was the benefactor of playing alongside Julius Erving for a few years.

    He wasn't horrid, but any success he had was more situational than anything.

20. Danny Manning

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    At his peak, Danny Manning was an exceptional scorer.

    That said, for 15 years, he toed the line of incompetency on the glass. He also spent much of the time in foul trouble, as he had a tendency to be exploited on the defensive end as well.

    Though Manning has two All-Star games to his name, he was never truly an All-Star.

19. Clifford Robinson

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    Clifford Robinson could step back and shoot the three, but his efficiency overall—43.8 percent for his career—was mediocre at best.

    The big man saw the light of one All-Star selection and three seasons of averaging 20-or-more points.

    That said, Robinson's rebounding deficiencies and fluctuating defense cannot be overlooked—because they already have been for far too long.

18. Zach Randolph

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    There is nothing even remotely athletic about Zach Randolph.

    While the power forward can put points on the board and rebound, his defense is suspect at best. He has been a conditioning liability his entire career, and is only just beginning to shed the selfish label.

    Randolph is a sound producer, but he's a below-average athlete and far from a great player.

17. Drew Gooden

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    Drew Gooden was a stud while at Kansas, but he has borderline fizzled in the NBA.

    The power forward is clearly no star, yet he has built an unwarranted reputation as a defensive stalwart of sorts.

    Gooden can rebound and power the ball down low, but he hardly passes. After a decade, he has yet to improve his footwork on either end of the floor.

    And while his career average of 12 points and 7.7 rebounds per game is nothing to downplay, it must be noted he has been at his best when playing for non-playoff teams.

16. Larry Johnson

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    Though he is listed simply as a forward, Larry Johnson spent the better part of his days at the power forward position.

    While he was undersized at 6'7", he held his own in the paint. He battled on the glass and used his quickness to his advantage on both ends of the floor.

    That said, Johnson was only a two-time All-Star, never won a championship and was never truly the type of player you could build a team around.

15. Shareef Abdur-Rahim

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    Shareef Abdur-Rahim could undoubtedly score (he could even put up a decent fight on the glass), but for nearly his entire career, he was treated and paid like a star. But he wasn't.

    Abdur-Rahim was never a solid defender and his leadership abilities were questioned time and time again.

    Most notably, though, the over-hyped forward had just one All-Star appearance and no playoff success to his name.

14. Carlos Boozer

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    Carlos Boozer is known for his scoring and rebounding abilities, yet both have been on the wrong side of the hill since before he inked a lucrative contract with the Bulls.

    His defense is a mess, he's become a major injury risk and has never been the kind of leader who can lead a team deep into the playoffs.

    The two-time All-Star has skills, but they are extremely limited.

13. Maurice Lucas

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    Maurice Lucas had a couple of high-scoring seasons, but was primarily used as an enforcer.

    At 6'9", Lucas struggled to grab rebounds and often found himself in foul trouble.

    There was simply nothing about him that truly stood out, and yet he found his way onto four All-Star teams.

    Go figure.

12. Derrick Coleman

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    Derrick Coleman put up some gaudy point totals for the majority of his career, yet he was no star—just a walking mural for lost potential.

    When the power forward wasn't overweight, his commitment to improve was being questioned. He wasn't an exceptional rebounder, and was often a liability on the defensive end.

    But yeah, just focus on his career average of 16.5 points per game. That's why he was great.


11. Christian Laettner

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    Christian Laettner was a superstar in college and a disappointment in the NBA.

    Laettner was a horrid defender, immovable object, and lived and died on the perimeter.

    The power forward lasted 13 years with the NBA, grossing over $61 million.

    Needless to say, Laettner, and his career 12.8 points and 6.7 rebound per game, weren't worth it.

    And as far as earning his spot on the dream team goes?


10. Keith Van Horn

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    Keith Van Horn is listed as a power forward, but played like a small forward. Either way, he's overrated.

    Van Horn could score with the best in the league, as long as there wasn't contact involved. He was wildly inconsistent and one of the softest athletes the league has ever seen.

    And don't even get yours truly started on his defense, as Van Horn was an immovable object on that end, and not in a good way.

    He would be higher but, fortunately, and rightfully so, he was never selected to an All-Star team. 

9. Vin Baker

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    Vin Baker made some serious coin over his 13-year career, yet he was hardly a superstar.

    Though Baker played in the NBA for almost a decade and a half, he was only exceptional for about three seasons.

    The power forward was quick and had a great touch around the basket, but that's about it.

8. Antonio McDyess

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    Remember when Antonio McDyess was a bona fide star?

    Truth be told, he never actually was.

    While McDyess' career was plagued by injuries, his reputation always preceded him.

    The only problem is, his reputation consisted of three exceptional two-way seasons before reverting back to mediocrity.

7. Elton Brand

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    Elton Brand has averaged over 20 points per game just once, only been selected to two All-Star games and appeared in only 80-or-more games in a single season four times.

    He's not exceptionally athletic, tends to get into foul trouble, is injury-prone and averse to consistency and mobility.

    And yet, Brand is currently approaching the last leg of a five-year, $80 million deal.

    Enough said.

6. Chris Bosh

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    Chris Bosh is overrated. Cue the critics.

    There's no doubt that Bosh, especially when separated from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is a guy who can give you 20 and eight every night.

    That said, he is not a player you can build a championship contender around (see Toronto Raptors).

    Bosh may be a member of the Heat's Big Three, but he is far from deserving of a superstar reputation and the near max-level deal he signed in 2010.

5. Kenyon Martin

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    Kenyon Martin was an All-Star with the Brooklyn Nets, but his true colors began to show when he made the jump to the Denver Nuggets.

    Early on, it became abundantly clear that it was Jason Kidd who had made Martin the threat he was—without a prolific point guard, Martin is simply an athletic fiend with a below-average basketball IQ.

    Currently, Martin thanks his lucky stars for playing alongside Chris Paul.

4. Shawn Kemp

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    For his career, Shawn Kemp averaged just 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds on 48.8 percent shooting—underwhelming numbers for a guy his size who held that much clout.

    And yet, Kemp was a six-time All-Star.

    Conditioning and consistency be damned.

3. Amar'e Stoudemire

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    One game Amar'e Stoudemire is a superstar, and the next he's a withering athlete operating on borrowed time.

    The impact Stoudemire can have is undeniable, but the key word there is "can." 

    For $100 million, you want consistency. Stoudemire simply doesn't provide that.

2. Antoine Walker

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    What can we say about Antoine Walker?

    The big man had horrible footwork, a penchant for putting up ill-advised shots, an apparent addiction to donuts and an aversion to defense.

    At least he could knock down the three-ball, though.

1. Blake Griffin

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    Blake Griffin is overrated; more overrated than any other power forward before him.

    No, Griffin hasn't received his pay day, but there are those who have been convinced to salivate at the notion of an athletic fiend with no mid-range game and lack of defensive awareness.

    Think of Griffin like a younger version of Amar'e Stoudemire, sans the jump shot.

    He's most effective within five feet of the basket and with a top-tier point guard at his side—he's made a living out of finishing other people's creativity.

    To be fair, Griffin is still young and has time to live up to the hype. To be even more fair, he will never be the 10th best player in the NBA. 


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